ADHD for the Gold

Next year my youngest son will begin high school. It signals a fresh start in academics, athletics and social connections. He will be joining his older brother there and frankly, there is only one thing on my mind.


I have been waiting patiently his whole little life for this moment in time. My long-legged long-winded child caused many moments of long-suffering over the years, but it’s about to all pay off.

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure…and so we plan to take this kid’s ADHD and cash in.

We never had a teacher call him out on his excitability. His report card notes include “A joy to have in class” right next to “Needs to work on focus.” They are always torn: yes, he speaks out before raising his hand, but also he sits in front and is actually happy to be there.

He was never actually “diagnosed”. I think a growing boy is naturally full of jumping beans.

This one just came with extras, is all.

He can control them if he limits his sweet tooth. We don’t keep sodas, chips, candy, etc stocked in the kitchen. We stick to meat and potatoes with occasional sides of pintos and whatever a family of seven can afford that doesn’t include Pop Tarts.

However, there is never a lack of sweets and artificial substances when you’re a man about town. He can swap for them during school lunchtime or chow down during a church potluck or casually join in the Cola Brigade at a friend’s house.

We never made a big deal out of it for fear it would actually become a big deal.

But surely there is a time to educate a child on his strengths and weaknesses.

“Son, you can’t eat a huge piece of chocolate layer cake right before church and expect to stay in your seat for the next hour. It’s not physically possible. I know little Billy can, but your body is unique and that’s how it responds when you eat certain things. Pay attention. Your teacher called me in to discuss your complete abandon of focus during her social studies class. That class is right after lunch. What are you packing in your lunch?”

Only four packs of gummy fruit snacks, a fist full of tortilla chips, juice boxes, and a chocolate chip granola bar.

“Where are the yogurt, cheese, sandwich, peanut butter and veggie bits?”

“Mom, nobody will trade for those.”

He was on a road trip with a favorite aunt. She gave him a generous bag of Doritos.

Ten minutes later, she pulled into a rest stop and waited while he ran laps around the facilities for a half hour until they wore off.

I say things to him like, “What in the world was that all about?

What did you eat?


Did you actually just drink a Mountain Dew?!”

“Mom,” he says, shaking his head sadly, “I just do what the soda tells me to.”

Well, we are done fighting it. Done. We are about to turn a weak spot into his secret weapon.

He will finally be joining his big brother’s high school cross country team. His big brother runs like a well oiled machine. He runs with his head. He uses strategy and training and discipline.

But this other kid of mine…he runs like a wild animal. He has something that simply picks him up and flings him forward into the universe. It may not be pretty, it may not be kosher, and there will be many people watching and just shaking their heads over it…but now this kid has a secret accelerator.

The Olympic judges a few years from now will demand drug testing.

The other runners will insist they smell something fishy.

Or is it cheesy?

The results will come in….

“Sir, there appears to be extremely high levels of…Doritos dust…in his system.”

No laws against that, eh?

The Barbary Coast

I’d love to tell you today’s post is about a lovely travel destination. I really would. Oh, I travelled all right, but it’s nothing you’ll find a book on in the travel section of B&N.

This morning I got up early and went for a run.

That’s code for: the bird outside my window would not shut up at 6am and I was so mad I couldn’t fall back asleep and, yes, I had planned on a work-out but I am SO not motivated and I can think of a dozen really well thought out reasons why I should just skip straight to the shower instead but darn it…there’s no time to drive to the gym or even put on my yoga DVD because I just laid here thinking them all up so now I’m out of options and out of time and I just won’t respect myself tomorrow morning if I don’t GET UP RIGHT THIS MINUTE and put on shoes and RUN OUT THE DOOR and whatever you do DON’T LOOK BACK.

Running is barbaric. Don’t ever let someone tell you otherwise. I run as a last resort, when I need a super-sweat really fast. I feel a little like I cheated on my time but made up for it in pain.

I have a girlfriend who ran the Boston marathon to celebrate her 40th birthday. And then she never ran again. I have a girlfriend who rides centuries on her bike. She started running to see if she feels like doing a Triathlon. Can you guess which activity she prefers? She may not ever make it to the swim part of her experiment.

Hubby does his early morning run three times a week because he ran in high school. Yeah. All I hear about is the latest body part about to fall off from his last “run”. He won’t stop running though…because his head tells him he’s still 18. His knees, not so much.

My long legged sons run like the wind. They fly effortlessly around the track or past Hubby or to the dinner table. They are fairly certain if a cheetah chased them, they’d win. In their opinion, the sweat, the heaving lungs, the shaky legs, and the nausea are all part of the fun. If they run with me, they run backwards, cheering me on. Top marks for sportsmanship.

When I run, I can’t wear ear buds because they sweat right out of my ears. So I hum the soundtrack to “Chariots of Fire” and take off. In 30 seconds I am breathing like a bellows, so I mentally chant, “In with the good air! Out with the bad!” In five minutes the sweat begins to permeate my sun visor and I’m thankful it’s not streaming into my eyes. I look directly at the space in front of me. If I look up and see how far there is yet to go, my pace falters and I might start thinking again.

So I trot stubbornly on.

I have one pace and one pace only, and I finally decided to name it the ‘Barbary Coast’. I will never be a hare. I am obviously a tortoise.  This means if pirates are chasing me, I’m a goner.

It takes almost the whole run to warm up and then I’m in a zone where I will just keep trotting into forever unless the path runs me into a wall. I tell my body to just keep moving and then my brain and I go to Morocco.

I am imagining riding a camel along the beaches of Casablanca when…

What in the name of sweet mercy is THAT?! I completely forgot about trash day. I just ran past someone’s wretchedly ripe cans. Oh man, my mouth was wide open and I was breathing in so deep, I reckon there’s a few fruit flies at the bottom of my lungs now.

*ack ack gasp*

This is the part where I spit like a girl.

Don’t watch.

When I finally staggered home I had the rush that comes from accomplishment and endorphins.

But the word “rush” was out of the question for the rest of the day.